Georges Seurat Study for “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” 1884
My initial take was slightly different: Get your photo taken with Ben Stiller, and you’ll be taken down shortly afterward…
If The Original Top Gun Had Been Made Today… pic.twitter.com/DfrPEEEObX
— @stevenvoiceover (@stevenvoiceover) June 22, 2022
“Germany shuts down nuclear reactors.
Then buys gas from Russia.
Then Russia cuts gas supply.
Then Germany reopens coal plants.
The coal is bought from Russia.”
People love to hate Jimmy Dore and his use of Carlson's platform, but he's telling nothing but truth here. pic.twitter.com/lvKAtcdepk
— Gritty is the Way (@Gritty20202) June 21, 2022
Priceless. Newsweek outperforms itself.
• Why Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky Won’t Say Ukraine Is Winning the War (NW)
Russia had lots of guns and materiel but it proved to be a hulking monster on the ground: poorly led, badly trained. Seventy-two hours became a week, then another, then the week after, then right after the next victory, then next month, and now, in the words of NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, “years.” Yet despite the setbacks, somehow the widespread notion has remained that mighty Russia will inevitably prevail over a weaker Ukraine. It won’t. At some turning point, after those 72 hours, after the bogged-down convoy, after the valiant and heartbreaking defense of Mariupol, after the failure to establish air superiority, after running low on precision weapons, after the withdrawal from the north, after more and more friends entered the fight on Ukraine’s side—Javelin, Stinger, Switchblade, M777—after deaths and injuries in the thousands, after desertions and refusals to fight, after failure upon failure on the battlefield, after one month, after two, after 100 days, the tide turned.
Yet scarcely anyone wants to say that Russia has lost. Ukrainian President Zelensky, desperate for external support and more guns, motivator of the people and rouser of the troops, has to keep the tension high and the prospects dire, lest all of the urgency and attention dissipate. President Biden and his fellow Western leaders speak of the defense of freedom and democracy, of the heightened threat to Europe and the free world, of the inevitability of China following Putin’s path, all to feed the military beast, excite the public, keep “national security” at the top of everyone’s agenda. And Putin obviously can’t admit it, determined equally to stay in power and to avoid the humiliation and danger of defeat. Putin doesn’t motivate the troops—he sends them. For weeks, Ukraine has been releasing snippets of intercepted conversations between these lowly soldiers and their parents, wives and girlfriends back home.
The soldiers complain that there is no information and no support. They are confused about the point of the war and its objectives. They are not allowed to take a break from fighting. They are poorly equipped and supplied. There is not enough medicine or doctors. “Our command has left,” one soldier told his wife, referring to platoon and company commanders who were deserting their units and the battlefield. “Well, they didn’t leave– they dropped their weapons.” It’s a myth, the soldier says, that “Russians do not let Russians down.” They’ve been let down and they all know it. Morale is so bad, British intelligence says, that there have been armed standoffs between political enforcers and individuals and even units on the battlefield that have refused to follow their orders. Russia is suffering “very heavy casualties, combat stress, continued poor logistics, and problems with pay,” the U.K. reported.
“Morale problems in the Russian force are likely so significant that they are limiting Russia’s ability to achieve operational objectives.” Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, head of the British Armed Forces was more blunt. “Russia will never take control of Ukraine,” he said. “Ukraine has shown how courageous it really is. Russia has vulnerabilities because it’s running out of people, it’s running out of hi-tech missiles,” Radakin said. “Any notion that this is a success for Russia is nonsense. Russia is failing. It might be getting some tactical successes over the last few weeks. And those might continue for the next few weeks. But Russia is losing.”
Under the bus.
• Jay Powell: Not Russia That Created U.S. Inflation, It Is Joe Biden Policy (CTH)
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell admitted the obvious in his senate testimony today when asked about U.S. inflation. However, his testimony directly contradicts the White House claims. Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), member of the Senate Banking Committee, walked through the inflation timeline and asked Chairman Powell about the cause of the escalated inflation in 2021. Powell admitted the massive rise in inflation had nothing to do with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
GOP Senator BREAKS Fed Chair Jerome Powell, makes him ADMIT Biden has been spreading MASSIVE LIE about inflation pic.twitter.com/tFuUjwsLnP
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) June 22, 2022
“The rupture with the West is irreversible and definitive. No pressure from the West will change it..”
• Exile on Main Street: The Sound of the Unipolar World Fading Away (Escobar)
The era of the unipolar world is over. The rupture with the West is irreversible and definitive. No pressure from the West will change it. Russia has renewed with its sovereignty. Reinforcement of political and economic sovereignty is an absolute priority. The EU has completely lost its political sovereignty. The current crisis shows the EU is not ready to play the role of an independent, sovereign actor. It’s just en ensemble of American vassals deprived of any politico-military sovereignty. Sovereignty cannot be partial. Either you’re a sovereign or a colony. Hunger in the poorest nations will be on the conscience of the West and euro-democracy. Russia will supply grains to the poorer nations in Africa and the Middle East. Russia will invest in internal economic development and reorientation of trade towards nations independent of the U.S.
The future world order, already in progress, will be formed by strong sovereign states. The ship has sailed. There’s no turning back. How does it feel, for the collective West, to be caught in such a crossfire hurricane? Well, it gets more devastating when we add to the new roadmap the latest on the energy front. Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, in St. Petersburg, stressed that the global economic crisis is gaining momentum not because of sanctions, but exacerbated by them; Europe “commits energy suicide” by sanctioning Russia; sanctions against Russia have done away with the much lauded “green transition”, as that is no longer needed to manipulate markets; and Russia, with its vast energy potential, “is the Noah’s Ark of the world economy.”
For his part Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller could not be more scathing on the sharp decline in the gas flow to the EU due to Siemens’ refusal and/or incapacity to repair the Nord Stream 1 pumping engine: “Well, of course, Gazprom was forced to reduce the volume of gas supplies to Europe by 20%+. But you know, prices have increased not by 20%+, but by several times! Therefore, I’m sorry if I say that we don’t feel offended by anyone, we are not particularly concerned by this situation.” If this pain dial overdrive was not enough to hurl the collective West – or NATOstan – into Terminal Hysteria, then Putin’s sharp comment on possibly allowing Mr. Sarmat to present his business card to “decision-making centers in Kiev”, those that are ordering the current shelling and killing of civilians in Donetsk, definitely did the trick:
“As for the red lines, let me keep them to myself, because this will mean quite tough actions on the decision-making centers. But this is an area that shouldn’t be disclosed to people outside the military-political leadership of the country. Those who deserve appropriate actions on our part should draw a conclusion for themselves – what they may face if they cross the line.”
“..disrupting payment systems, shipping, insurance which had prevented many Russian exports of food and fertiliser..”
• Russia Says West Is Spreading Lies About Causes of World’s Food Crisis (R.)
Russia on Wednesday said the West was spreading lies about the causes of the global food crisis which Moscow said was being stoked by the sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and European Union due to the invasion of Ukraine.[..] Western sanctions, Zakharova said, had tipped agricultural markets towards the edge of the abyss by disrupting payment systems, shipping, insurance which had prevented many Russian exports of food and fertiliser. “It is illogical – on the one hand the European Union… says a threat to global food security is being created but at the same time they block the delivery routes of goods to themselves on their own continent,” Zakharova said. President Vladimir Putin and Russian officials do not use the words “war” or “invasion”. They cast the action as a “special military operation” aimed at preventing the persecution of Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine.
Putin also casts the war as a revolt against the United States, which he says has humiliated Russia since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union by pushing for the enlargement of the NATO military alliance westwards. Ukraine says it is fighting for its survival against a land grab by Russia and that it will fight to the end to free its territory from Russian control. Kyiv dismisses claims that Russian-speakers have been persecuted. Eritrea, Armenia, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Somalia, Belarus, Turkey, Madagascar, Lebanon, Egypt and Pakistan depend on Russia or Ukraine for more than 70% of their wheat imports in 2021, according to United Nations data. Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Serbia, Honduras and Ghana rely on Russia for 50% or more of their fertiliser imports in 2021, according to the data.
“If there is chaos around, there must be people who can show the way out to the others..”
• Letter from Faina Savenkova (Saker)
Truth is the way out of chaos. To Journalist Tucker Carlson. Hello, Tucker. I am 13 years old and I live in Lugansk. I think many people from the American authorities do not even know where it is, but they continue to supply weapons to Ukraine for the war with Russia. For a week now, Ukrainian artillery has been mercilessly shelling Donetsk, killing civilians in the Donbass. It’s one thing to fight with the army, and another to just shoot guns at schools, kindergartens and sleeping residents. Many will say that this is deception and propaganda, but it is not so. I was born and live in Lugansk. I spent the entire war – since 2014 – in my hometown. Living in a war for 8 years is very hard. It’s very scary when your childhood is spent in such conditions. 8 years of hope for peace, which never came. But it didn’t break me. I keep telling the truth about what’s going on here.
And I know that you do the same thing when you talk about America. I do not consider you a friend of Russia, but the fact that you are telling the truth and do not want a war with Russia pleases me. After all, if there is a nuclear war, there will be no winners in it. I’ve had to turn to world leaders a lot. I’ve been trying to stop the war for three years, but they, like musicians and politicians, are deaf and dumb. Perhaps someone wants to calmly meet old age, someone is afraid of change, and someone simply does not understand what war is. After all, it is not next to them. Last year, Ukrainian nationalists entered my personal data on the “myrotvorets.center” (english: “Peacemaker”) website, posting them in open access. After that, I started receiving threats. You may ask, “What is a myrotvorets.center?” Indeed, many in the US do not know what it is.
If we compare, imagine if the Ku Klux Klan in the USA created its own website and posted there the addresses, bank accounts and other personal data of all politicians, actors and musicians who disagree with them. And the authorities would help them at the same time. This is what is happening in Ukraine now. A lot of my friends from Ukraine faced the same problem: “myrotvorets.center ” published their personal data, including address and phone number. Can you imagine such a thing in the USA? No. It’s hard for me to say what will happen to me tomorrow. After all, I live in a war where shells arrive every day. But I believe that the war will end, just like the confrontation between Russia and the United States. And personally, Tucker, I want to wish you good luck. Thank you for trying to tell the truth, because someone has to do it. If there is chaos around, there must be people who can show the way out to the others.
Faina Savenkova, playwright and writer, 13-year-old girl, Lugansk
“… BMJ Editor’s Analysis of Pfizer and Moderna Trial Data Finds..”
Whatever mistakes BMJ Editor Dr. Peter Doshi may have made, this is still significant.
• Covid Vaccines More Likely to Put You in Hospital Than Keep You Out (DS)
A new paper by BMJ Editor Dr. Peter Doshi and colleagues has analysed data from the Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccine trials and found that the vaccines are more likely to put you in hospital with a serious adverse event than keep you out by protecting you from Covid. The pre-print (not yet peer-reviewed) focuses on serious adverse events highlighted in a WHO-endorsed “priority list of potential adverse events relevant to COVID-19 vaccines”. The authors evaluated these serious adverse events of special interest as observed in “phase III randomised trials of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines”. A serious adverse event was defined as per the trial protocols as an adverse event that results in any of the following conditions:
• death; • life-threatening at the time of the event; • inpatient hospitalisation or prolongation of existing hospitalisation; • persistent or significant disability/incapacity; • a congenital anomaly/birth defect; • medically important event, based on medical judgement. Dr. Doshi and colleagues found that the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were associated with an increased risk of serious adverse events of special interest of 10.1 events per 10,000 vaccinated for Pfizer and 15.1 events per 10,000 for Moderna (95% CI -0.4 to 20.6 and -3.6 to 33.8, respectively). When combined, the mRNA vaccines were associated with a risk increase of serious adverse events of special interest of 12.5 per 10,000 vaccinated (95% CI 2.1 to 22.9).
The authors note that this level of increased risk post-vaccine is greater than the risk reduction for COVID-19 hospitalisation in both Pfizer and Moderna trials, which was 2.3 per 10,000 participants for Pfizer and 6.4 per 10,000 for Moderna. This means that on this measure, the Pfizer vaccine results in a net increase in serious adverse events of 7.8 per 10,000 vaccinated and the Moderna vaccine of 8.7 per 10,000 vaccinated. Addressing the difference between their findings and those of the FDA when it approved the vaccines, the authors note that the FDA’s analysis of serious adverse events “included thousands of additional participants with very little follow-up, of which the large majority had only received one dose”.
The FDA also counted ‘people affected’ rather than individual events, despite there being twice as many individuals in the vaccine group than the placebo group who experienced multiple serious adverse events. The authors wonder where the U.S. Government’s own studies of adverse events are. They note that in July 2021, the FDA reported detecting four potential adverse events of interest following Pfizer vaccination – pulmonary embolism, acute myocardial infarction, immune thrombocytopenia and disseminated intravascular coagulation – and stated it would further investigate the findings. However, no update has yet appeared. They also note that “while CDC published a protocol in early 2021 for using proportional reporting ratios for signal detection in the VAERS database, the agency has not yet reported such a study”.
“There will be a scramble for alternative truths once the narrative starts crumbling..”
• We Must Never Forget (Siglaugsson)
Recently the Icelandic chief epidemiologist said in an interview the lockdowns hadn‘t been stringent enough. And he blamed those few politicians who voiced their doubts and worried about the well-being of society as a whole, for undermining the solidarity behind the measures. As if he were the emperor, the politicians only his servants. And he is not alone. Many of those people will continue pushing the narrative even as it crumbles around them. They will be the first targets of people‘s anger. Then it will be the politicians, pharmaceuticals, media and big tech. There will of course be strong pushback. There will be a scramble for alternative truths once the narrative starts crumbling; for something to keep the veil on the lies and atrocities. The push for continued masking, lockdowns, vaccine mandates will continue for a while.
And we shouldn‘t forget there are huge interests at stake here, to certain very big business sectors, lockdowns are a godsend; human interaction is a threat to them. The censorship will be ramped up even further. But despite all the power, money and technology, the facts will emerge, the truth will prevail in the end. It always does. Some might say I‘m too optimistic, that we are already under the control of conspiring media, big-tech and corrupt officials, with no way out. But is it really so? Recently a US attempt at handing unprecedented powers over to the WHO was averted, thanks mostly to African leaders and strong public opposition. The vaccine mandates are disappearing and what will eventually come of the still existing plans for health passes is unclear. But of course the danger is still there.
What really matters is how we react as the narrative crumbles. Will we just shrug and move on with our daily lives, not caring about the threat to our freedom and humanity? Or will we face the consequences of our failure to think critically, of our gullibility, our lack of moral integrity, as the German people were forced to do after World War II, as the Icelanders had to do after 2008? Will we bring those responsible to court? Will we learn, once again the hard way, how the only thing that can prevent such catastrophes in the future is taking responsibility as thinking, doubting individuals?
And will we finally understand the true meaning of Hannah Arendt‘s conclusion in The Origins of Totaliarianism, that flawed as it may be, it is only a sovereign nation state of free people, governed by elected representatives who take their responsibility seriously; as they did in the tiny Faroe Islands during the pandemic; and not unelected officials, supranational organizations or huge corporations; that only the nation state is really able to protect universal human rights? We have to move on. We have to rebuild our societies, reestablish our moral values and our rights, rebuild trust in science and trust within our communities. But to truly move on, we must face, understand and act on the roots of the catastrophe, and take full responsibility for the part each of us played. This is why we must not forget. We must never forget.
“Russia sells its oil to China and India where it gets refined. The resulting gasoline and diesel is then exported to the U.S.. That is good for India and China as they buy the oil with a rebate and sell the end products with a substantial margin..”
• The Neocon’s Dream – Decolonize Russia, Re-colonize China (MoA)
The neo-conservatives are back using a new narrative to push their old agenda. Russian officials will love such talk: “Today’s panel is a further step forward in that it tells ordinary Russians that even regime change and democracy is not good enough for them. They require the partition of their country into smaller (more easily controlled) polities, so that they can be free. Needless to say, this is a propaganda coup for Putin and the Kremlin as it allows them to paint the conflict in Ukraine as an existential fight.” The Kremlin has no need to ‘paint’ the conflict as an existential fight. The Russians know that it is such a fight. Biden’s haplessness continues to tank the Democrats chances to keep house majority. In a meager attempt to tackle the high fuel price he will today call on Congress to suspend the tax on fuel for three month. It is just a gimmick which would have little effect at the pump and has no chance to pass Congress:
“GOP lawmakers have been hammering Biden and Democrats on the campaign trail over inflation and fuel prices. They argue that such measures are political theater that will do little to make long-term dents in oil prices. The best way to reduce oil prices, they say, is to loosen regulations and increase U.S. oil production. … California had the highest average gas price of any state at $6.398 per gallon. The gas tax suspension would reduce the cost of a gallon of diesel fuel by 24 cents.” The real reason for high fuel prices is Biden’s misguided foreign policy. Three of the biggest oil producers on the globe, Venezuela, Iran and Russia, are under U.S. sanctions that limit their oil exports:
The sanctions have made it more difficult for Russia to sell its oil. Biden has also banned the import of Russian oil, and last month Europe announced it was imposing a partial embargo on it. As of 2020, Russia was the world’s third-largest producer of petroleum, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. As the New York Times correctly headlines: “Western Move to Choke Russia’s Oil Exports Boomerangs, for Now”. That move will continue to boomerang. Russia sells it oil to China and India where it gets refined. The resulting gasoline and diesel is then exported to the U.S.. That is good for India and China as they buy the oil with a rebate and sell the end products with a substantial margin. It is a ‘win’ ‘win’ ‘win’ for Russia, India and China with the sole loser being the ‘west’. Whatever NYT hope of sanction success is expressed in its ‘for now’ addition to the headline is not going to change that.
Meanwhile Russia is announcing the next target of its campaign to counter ‘western’ misbehavior – the reserve status of the U.S. dollar and the Euro: “MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. The issue of creating an international reserve currency based on currencies of BRICS member-states is under consideration, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday in the welcome address to BRICS Business Forum participants. “The matter of creating the international reserve currency based on the basket of currencies of our countries is under review,” the Russian leader said. BRICS currently consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Together those countries represent 3.2 billion people and a third of the world’s purchase power GDP. The new international reserve currency would therefore have a much larger backing than the U.S. dollar or the Euro.
Still longing for total control.
• China’s Ties to Russia Looms Large at NATO’s Madrid Meeting (Celente)
Less than a month after President Joe Biden was sworn into office, he took a 10-minute drive from the White House to the Pentagon to meet with his top military leaders, including Lloyd Austin, his new defense secretary. Biden was there for one reason: China. Biden told workers there that he was briefed about a Defense Department-wide task force headed by Austin that would look at “operational concepts, technology, and force posture,” to counter the growing competition from Beijing. Biden said the U.S. will “meet the China challenge” by taking a “whole-of-government effort, bipartisan cooperation in Congress, and strong alliances and partnerships.” No presidency is ever without surprises, but even with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it seems that it’s China that keeps Washington awake at night.
Need proof? About a month before Russia’s 24 February invasion of Ukraine, Biden announced that U.S. troops will not fight Russians in Ukraine, which was not protected by NATO’s Article 5. But he said twice -in roughly the same time frame – that U.S. would defend Taiwan against China. (The White House on both occasions corrected the record and said Washington’s position of strategic ambiguity has not changed, but the sentiment was there.) China has recognized Russia’s security concern over an expanding NATO while calling an end to the conflict. Hua Chunying, the Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, said the invasion of Ukraine was not what Beijing hoped to see. “China has taken a responsible attitude and persuaded all parties not to escalate tensions or incite war,” she said.
“Those who follow the U.S.’s lead in fanning up flame and then shifting the blame onto others are truly irresponsible.” Beijing has lashed out at the U.S. over its interference over Taiwan. It is widely believed that Putin informed his Chinese counterpart about his intention to invade Ukraine during their meeting at the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. “The Chinese side stands ready to work with the Russian side to push for steady and long-term development of practical bilateral cooperation,” President Xi JinPing said, after a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Xi said trade with Russia over the first half of this year has been [in the tens of billions of U.S. dollars] and we “can expect new records in upcoming months, which is a testament to the great cooperation between our two nations.”
• Sri Lanka Economy Has ‘Completely Collapsed’ – PM (Sky)
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said the country’s economy has “completely collapsed”, leaving it unable to pay for essentials such as oil imports. It follows months of shortages of food, fuel, and electricity, and the realisation that even the credit lines from neighbouring India that have sustained the country so far will not be enough. Mr Wickremesinghe told Sri Lanka’s parliament: “We are now facing a far more serious situation beyond the mere shortages of fuel, gas, electricity and food. “Our economy has completely collapsed – that is the most serious issue before us today.” Mr Wickremesinghe said that the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation is $700m (£572m) in debt, adding: “As a result, no country or organisation in the world is willing to provide fuel to us.
“They are even reluctant to provide fuel for cash.” Sri Lanka has been struggling under the weight of its debt, combined with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, including a loss of tourism revenue and the rising cost of commodities. In April, it suspended payment on the equivalent of £9.8bn in foreign debt. Mr Wickremesinghe said that efforts to turn the situation around had failed, adding: “If steps had at least been taken to slow down the collapse of the economy at the beginning, we would not be facing this difficult situation today. “But we lost out on this opportunity. “We are now seeing signs of a possible fall to rock bottom.” Previous prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned in May after months of protests and clashes between government supporters and those demanding a change in leadership.
This brought veteran Mr Wickremesinghe to the role for a sixth time, in a move that opposition politicians said was aimed at protecting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his family from protesters’ anger. A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrived in Colombo earlier this week and talks with them have made progress, Mr Wickremesinghe said on Wednesday, adding that an agreement was likely by the end of this month. “We have discussed multiple points including fiscal policy, debt restructuring and direct cash transfers,” he said. “Parallel to this, we have also started talks on a debt restructuring framework, which we hope will be completed in July.”
“She will be sentenced on 28 June..” How about her clients?
• Ghislaine Maxwell: US Prosecutors Urge 30-Year Minimum Prison Sentence (G.)
Ghislaine Maxwell should get at least 30 years’ imprisonment for sex trafficking when she is sentenced next week for her role in facilitating the abuse of teenage girls by Jeffrey Epstein, New York federal prosecutors have said in court filings. “Ghislaine Maxwell sexually exploited young girls for years. It is difficult to overstate the magnitude of her crimes and the harm she caused. Her crimes demand justice,” they said in a court filing on Wednesday. “The government urges the court to impose a sentence within the applicable guidelines range of 360 to 660 months’ imprisonment.” The prosecution’s filing comes one week after Maxwell’s lawyers argued that she should receive “well below” the 20-year sentence recommended by sentencing officials.
Although Maxwell’s defense attorneys and prosecutors each make their arguments for an appropriate sentence, the decision ultimately rests with Alison Nathan, the judge. “Maxwell’s conduct was shockingly predatory,” prosecutors said in arguing for a lengthy sentence. “She was a calculating, sophisticated, and dangerous criminal who preyed on vulnerable young girls and groomed them for sexual abuse. “Not only did her conduct exhibit a callous disregard for other human beings, but her practice of targeting vulnerable victims reflects her view that struggling young girls could be treated like disposable objects.” Maxwell was convicted on 29 December for her role in the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of girls, some as young as 14, who she brought into his orbit. She will be sentenced on 28 June. She maintains her innocence.
Very good angle.
• Extraditing Assange Would Be a “Legalized” Rendition to US Torture (Kanji)
As the British government moves ever closer to extraditing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, the pantomime of “justice” cloaking his persecution in the regalia of the “rule of law” continues to unfold: a torture rendition by another name, inching forward as the world watches in real time. On June 17, the U.K.’s Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition of Assange to the United States, following the magistrate court’s order that the transfer should proceed. In this fundamentally skewed process, Assange’s capacity to meaningfully defend himself has been systematically assaulted by government smear campaigns; surveillance of his lawyers; and stultifying, arbitrary rules and restrictions obstructing him from participating in his own case — as documented in detail by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer in his recent book, The Trial of Julian Assange.
Previously, U.S. officials discussed “options” for kidnapping Assange and assassinating him by poison — tactics ultimately dismissed as “something we’d do in Afghanistan,” Egypt or Pakistan, but not the U.K. Therefore, they’ve opted for the more “civilized” alternative. Instead of kidnapping, extradition. And instead of assassination, entombment in the torturous U.S. carceral system, where Assange faces a death-in-prison sentence of 175 years for exposing U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. How is this, in essence and effect, anything but the “legal” equivalent of an extraordinary rendition — defined by the American Civil Liberties Union as “the practice of capturing people and sending them to countries that use torture or abuse in interrogations”?
While the U.S.’s infamous extraordinary rendition program has (now) been officially condemned and supposedly ceased, rendition to torture via legalized means is enduringly embraced. In “extraordinary” rendition, hundreds of “war on terror” detainees were secretly imprisoned and brutalized in CIA black sites around the world. In “legalized” rendition, the torture chambers are not foreign black sites but prisons transformed into “Guantánamo Norths” within the U.S. itself. In “extraordinary” rendition, victims were seized off the streets extrajudicially by the CIA. In the “legalized” version, the condemned are delivered into U.S. hands through judicially sanctioned means such as extradition — abusive processes accorded an aura of legal legitimacy.
U.S. courts have upheld transfers into U.S. custody even when the targets have been abducted at gunpoint, severely beaten, burned, kept in secret offshore captivity for weeks or months (an increasingly popular practice with U.S. law enforcement), and electrocuted in their feet and genitals: acts of violence for which the courts have refused to provide any legal redress because they occurred outside the U.S. In “legalized” rendition, as in “extraordinary” rendition, detainees have been subjected to intensive solitary confinement, forced nudity, sexual humiliation, sensory deprivation, extreme light and temperature exposure, and other mechanisms of deliberate “psychic demolition”; although the degree of isolation and control achieved in domestic U.S. prisons under regimes such as “special administrative measures” is in many ways even more totalizing than at Guantánamo Bay.
Yesterday myself and @chrisandrews64 again raised Julian Assange in the Dáil.
It is high time that Assange is freed.#JulianAssange #FreeAssange@StellaMoris1 @wikileaks pic.twitter.com/eAknNLPIMU
— Mairéad Farrell TD (@Farrell_Mairead) June 22, 2022
• Assange Put on Suicide Watch After Patel Decision (Lauria)
After British Home Secretary Priti Patel signed Julian Assange’s extradition order on Friday the authorities in Belmarsh prison stripped Julian Assange and threw him into a completely empty cell in an attempt to prevent his suicide, Assange’s father has said. It was just one more instance in which the prison humiliated his son, Shipton told a rally on Tuesday night at the offices of the junge Welt newspaper in Berlin. About 300 people attended, with an overflow crowd watching on close circuit TV in the courtyard. Testimony was heard from expert defense witnesses during Assange’s extradition hearing that he might try to end his life in prison once he learned he was going to the United States.
It is not the end of the road for Assange legally, however. His lawyers have until July 1 to file for an appeal of Patel’s decision to the High Court. They also intend to apply for a cross appeal of issues such as the political nature of the charges, the threat to free speech and the reported C.I.A. plot to kidnap or kill Assange before his arrest. Shipton and Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s brother, are in Berlin to lobby the German government to put pressure on the United States to drop the case against Assange. On Monday, the Shiptons met with Tobias Lindner, the minister of state, at the German foreign ministry. “It was a practical and appropriate step for Tobias to take, to welcome Julian Assange’s father and bother into the foreign ministry,” John Shipton said.
“The invitation in itself and the meeting in the foreign ministry indicates that the German government is sincere in bringing about the freedom of Julian Assange.” But Shipton said he would like to hear a public statement from Germany in support of his son. “We’d like Tobias to confirm what he’s said.” A German government spokesman on Monday said however that Germany was unlikely to intervene with either the U.K. or the U.S. “This is a legal process that is already in motion, so I would be a little wary of political intervention,” he said, the French Press Agency (AFP) reported.
Imagine the collapse of this…..
Just a video of Mick Lynch bodying journalists and Tories pic.twitter.com/C1kLroXFZX
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) June 22, 2022
Cave of El Castillo, Spain. Hands and a Bison. Some of the hand stencils, mostly near the front and middle sections of the cave, were painted more than 37,000 years ago, but some of the more recent hand stencils are 24,000 years old.
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